the "journal welcome -- welcome to the "journal" here on dw. algeria's hostage crisis continues with many foreigners still unaccounted for two days after islamist fighters attacked a gas complex. >> shareholder pressure on the chairman of a company steps down after he admits to mistakes that led to massive losses at the global steel maker. >> bundesliga fans get ready for the return of german soccer after a six-week break. will this be bayern munich's year?
>> the hostage standoff at a saharan national gas plant took a dramatic turn today as algeria's state news service reported that nearly 100 of the 132 foreign workers kidnapped had been freed? the fate of those still in captivity remains unclear. an islamist militants also initially seized 573 algerians, all of whom were later released. the al qaeda-linked groups took the hostages supposedly to pressure france into ending its military intervention in mali. >> algerian state television aired these images of hostages celebrating their release. they described the dramatic rescue operation. >> we were in a room with 250 people when the air raid began. we managed to escape through a
back door. there was a terrorist sniper near the medical center. it was a hard-fought battle. if the army had not arrived, we would still be in captivity. >> these non-algerian hostages were treated at a local hospital. they were shaken but relieved. >> thanks to the algerian army for taking good care of us. >> it happened so fast. >> around 30 foreigners remain unaccounted for, and there's been mounting criticism of the algerian authorities' information policies, but those who did escape unscathed praised the authorities. >> i was very impressed with the algerian army. >> very, very relieved. >> the international nature of the hostage crisis has raised concern the world over. in london, british prime
minister david cameron postponed a much-awaited speech on europe to deal with the crisis. >> the algerian prime minister just told me this morning they are now looking at possible routes to resolve this crisis. >> with so many still unaccounted for and reports that some terrorists are still holed up in the installation, the wait continues for news from the remote gas field -- with so many insurgents dating back to a civil war with the country's -- when the country eradicate some of the most violent domestic groups. many -- >> many of the islamists are thought to be a new generation of foreign jihadists, hardened on the battlefields of iraq and afghanistan. >> they've been allowed free rein in mali, and they pose a threat to algeria's hard-1 stability. >> terrorist attacks, mass murder, and torture were
everyday occurrences in 1990's algeria. almost 200,000 people lost their lives in a civil war between islamists and the authoritarian regime. the government declared victory in 2002, the low-level fighting has continued. the violence was triggered by the first democratic elections to take place in the north african country in 1991. when the islamic salvation front won the first round, the government called off the voting and cracked down on islamists, forcing many underground. including a notorious terrorist leader with ties to al qaeda. he is reportedly behind this week's attack on the remote desert gas plant. though he first made a name for himself with a string of violent attacks and dramatic kidnappings after he joined an extremist group in the late 1990's. the terror has continued to this day, but the extremists seemed to be losing support. for many algerians, even an
authoritarian regime is preferable to an islamist state. algeria is rich in resources, especially gas and oil. and it has hardly any public debt, but average algerians see little benefit from the country's richest. although there is great dissatisfaction from the government, it has not helped the islamists' cause. there's too much fear the country could once again descend into civil war. >> france is reporting some initial successes in mali where government troops had recaptured a strategic town islamist rebels took more than a week ago. germany is giving logistical support to the french military in the west african nation. two german military transfer aircraft left a base in mali and expected to land in the capital on saturday but will be based in neighboring senegal. they will be used to help
transport west african troops to help quell the rebellion. >> the united nations' nuclear watchdog says it has again failed to reach a deal with iran in talks over the country's nuclear program. >> the announcement by the international atomic energy agency follows two days of intense negotiations with tehran. inspectors are trying to get access to a military site, which is allegedly used to test components for nuclear weapons. iran, though, denies that and underscores its right to nuclear research for civilian purposes. in -- another meeting is scheduled for february. >> all right, some business news now, and the chinese economy has beaten expectations for the final quarter of 2012 after nearly two years of relatively tepid performance by the world's second-largest economic power. gross domestic product rose by 7.9% and 7.8% for the year as a whole. analysts say the outlook for china may be improving. chinese exports have continued
to fall, but retail sales and industrial production have started to pick up. and germany's second biggest lender, commerzbank, could cut up to 6000 jobs according to a report. while there have been months of speculation over possible cuts, this latest story suggests 1910 positions in germany could go. the bank is not commenting. negotiations with employee representatives are due to begin soon. the german government holds a 25% stake in the bank. it had to be bailed out three years ago. all right, time now for a wrapup of friday's trading action. at the frankfurt stock exchange, here is our reporter. >> early in the morning, the positive growth figures coming from china went down pretty well here on the frankfurt floor, but in later trading, the dax lost ground. there has been some profit-
taking going on, said the dax closed down in negative territory -- so the dax closed down in negative territory. also the fact that there's a holiday on monday in new york. one of the bigger gainers has been the share of commerzbank, due to speculation about job cuts -- massive job cuts. it lifted shares because traders and investors said the cost- cutting program is necessary. >> let's get a closer look at those market numbers for you. it was a down day in europe. the dax was down by almost 0.5%, and a similar story for the euro stoxx 50. in new york, trading still under way for the dow jones industrial average, and it is not doing a lot. very little change. the euro trading for $1.3323. >> the chairman of a german steel producer has admitted to
making mistakes, saying his supervisory board could have done better, but those mistakes have led to some huge losses for the company. >> the executive dick -- the executive is accused of failing to stop multi-billion dollar projects that went wrong. >> shareholders and employees are pointing the finger at the supervisory board chairman. they accuse him of failing to question bad board decisions. at the general meeting, he fought back, saying he has no intention of stepping down. >> if you ask me whether as a board we could have done things better, i will honestly say yes. we trusted people for too long. we could or should have acted sooner, but we did act once we saw what was going on if we had the appropriate facts, and we acted with resolve. >> hopes for the company's
future lie with the new ceo. he fired three top executives last month after the company lost billions of investments in plants abroad. problematic projects all over the world have plunged the company deep into the red. costs for steel plants in brazil and the united states have nearly quadrupled from 3.6 billion euros to 12 billion euros. the reasons -- poor planning and construction errors. in addition, the company faces corruption allegations in kazakhstan. in germany, the company had to pay a 103-million-you're a fine in a price-fixing scandal. a real operator is considering a lawsuit. -- the company had to pay a 103- million-euro fine. as negotiations with deutsche bank continue, there still a lot of work to do to get things back on track. >> a real-life tragedy has taken
center stage at russia's prestigious bolshoi ballet. the director was the victim of an acid attack outside his home late on thursday. >> the 42-year-old suffered serious injury to his face, and doctors are fighting to save his eyesight. the head of the bolshoi theater says he believes the attack was a product of a and b -- of envy. it highlights a long history of power struggles at the ballet. >> this is the only lead. in the cover of darkness, a masked assailant attacked and escaped. >> if thing like this has never happened before, so we at the ministry of culture consider this to be an attack on not only such a bright cultural figure but also the whole bolshoi theater and russian culture. >> once an acclaimed dancer, he has led the ballet since 2011,
but not without controversy. as the head of the one of -- of one of the world's top ballet companies, he could make or break a dancer's career. >> i'm sure some commissioned it out of jealousy or hate. it is not too complicated. there was money involved. they just paid for it. >> this cannot happen. i mean, they are all sophisticated people, aren't they? >> the ballet is notorious for power struggles behind the scenes, but this has shaken russia's cultural scene to its core. >> to the world of sports now, as expected, former cycling star lance armstrong has admitted to doping during his professional career. by doing so, he has potentially open himself up to a stream of litigation that could hurt him financially for years to come. >> the biggest question is weather the u.s. government will reopen its investigation of the cyclists -- whether the u.s. government will reopen its investigation.
>> the second half of the interview will be broadcast later today. here's more. >> oprah winfrey did not waste any time demanding a simple answer to questions that lance armstrong had spent years dodging. >> yes or no -- did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance? >> yes. >> yes or no -- in all seven of your tour de france victories, did you ever take let -- banned substances? >> yes. >> blood transfusions, testosterone, cortisone, human growth hormones -- lance armstrong admitted to using a range of methods and substances. he said he did not see himself as a cheat because it was part of cycling culture. >> i view the situation as one big lie that i repeated a lot of times. >> he also defended the international cycling union, rejecting allegations he failed a doping test in 2001 and then
paid off officials to cover-up the results. >> i do not want to accuse anybody else. i do not necessarily want to talk about anybody else. i made my decisions. they are my mistake, and i am sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say i am sorry for that. >> the uci president was quick to common saying less armstrong decision to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repair the damage caused to cycling and to restore confidence in the sport -- quick to comment, saying lance armstrong's decision to confront his past is an important step forward. >> it has now all come out. we are annoyed, frustrated. >> despite the revelations, armstrong is under pressure to give more details about the extent of his doping program. the second part of the interview will be broadcast later friday. >> going to a short break now. when we come back, is preparing
>> welcome back. the financial crisis has also had a fallout in british politics. the prime minister has delayed what must be the hotly -- the most hotly awaited speech of his career. >> cameron was due to travel to the netherlands to speak about recasting britain sometimes difficult relationship with the european union but instead spent the day in london dealing with events unfolding in algeria, but experts of his speech have been released. he will say that more of the same in the eu is not enough. he is also expected to demand a renegotiation of britain's membership with the block and then put the new terms to a public referendum.
critics say he is pandering to euro skeptics in his own conservative party. for more on britain's relationship with the eu, we spoke to the president of the european parliament and asked first why he was so opposed to prime minister cameron's efforts to reclaim some of the powers london has ceded to brussels. >> i think we would need a stronger euro, but not a divided -- a stronger europe but not a divided europe, and i'm really surprised that britain is not a member of the euro. it would be useful that other countries and britain agreed the charter. we need a deeper integration of europe, and not a distraction of the european union. >> cameron seems headed down this road anyway with the threat
of leaving the eu hanging in the background. is that fair? is he holding the eu to ransom? >> that would be really a disaster for great britain, and it would not be useful for the european union. i would like to see great britain as a full-fledged member of the european union because our continent, with 500 million citizens, is not the strongest part of the world. we are still a strong continent, but in the long run in competition with other parts of the world, we need a united europe and not a divided europe, and there -- therefore, i would like to see the uk as a full- fledged member of the union, but if they want to stay in the union, this is a decision of the european trip -- of the british people. in my opinion, because of the advantages and disadvantages of membership, you would see that the majority are in favor of
membership. therefore, i feel david cameron is playing a politically -- a domestic political game. in reality, he is speaking to the right wing of his party. >> the last british prime minister to cause these high levels of stress in brussels was, of course, margaret thatcher. do you see david cameron as a new version of margaret thatcher? >> not at all. the core message of margaret thatcher's speech was, "i want to see a strong europe." cameron's message is, "i want to see a strong u.k. and a weak european union." that is a strong difference. >> thanks so much. in germany, there's a state election coming up this weekend that could be a preview of national elections. >> in lower saxony, angela merkel's conservatives are hoping to stay in power, but the
coalition partners they depend on, the free democrats, could be too weak to help keep them there. >> the opposition social democrats have been crashing in opinion polls as their chancellor candidate moves from one gaffe to another. here's more. >> angela merkel on the campaign trail in lower saxony -- it is a regional election that has taken on national significance. all the parties want to build momentum ahead of the election in the fall. angela merkel gave the christian democrat incumbent a glowing endorsement. >> he is a great state premier, so please do everything you can to make sure david mcalester can stay on sunday. i can continue my work for lower saxony. i can continue to serve lower saxony. together with my team, together with my delegates. >> it is an election that could seal the fate of the deputy chancellor i of his free democrats fail to into the legislature, as polls suggest --
if his free democrats failed to enter the legislature, as polls suggest. he could be history. peer steinbrueck is looking for a boost to his campaign. latest poll numbers do not make for pleasant reading. again, angela merkel's conservatives, 42%, the highest level in 17 years. steinbrueck also quashed rumors that he could be replaced as the spd candidate for chancellor i of lower saxony's election does not go their way. >> my opinion poll results have been much better. we got to get back. we have enough time, and i'm going for it, and i will make it. their choice on sunday.ny make- the result could have far reaching consequences. >> all right, well, the wait is
finally over for fans of german soccer. the bundesliga swings back into action after a winter break. >> but the season is really all about one team -- mighty bayern munich going into the season with a nine-point lead in the standing. they scored more goals than any other team, conceding just seven. >> they sound unstoppable. let's get another look. >> they turn on the style in the first half of the season and open up a commanding lead on their rivals, including dortmund. >> ♪ we are the champion >> bayern are on their way to a title they have not won in three years, but are they unstoppable? critics often paint them as arrogant and too full of themselves. scenes like this do not do their
reputation any favors, and it is not the first time they have crossed the line between self believe and overconfidence. >> they are the best in germany, maybe in europe. [applause] >> the management team is serious. pep guardiolo will be taking over the reins, but not until the end of the season. with retirement living, the current coach will be determined to go out with a bang. -- with retirement looming. his management philosophy is simple. >> it is like a symphony orchestra. the conductor has to practice every day as well, practice, adjust, and optimize. otherwise it will not work no matter how good the soloists are. >> injuries are another problem that could set the team back. if they lose some top players, they could struggle to keep up their momentum, but they do have plenty of strength and depth in
the squad. they have quality backup for every single position, and rotating the team keeps everyone happy. >> that is what has made a strong this season. it is a union, and it is focused on one goal, and that is first and foremost the bundesliga title. >> they have a huge task on their hands. dortmund can still win three titles. they are still in the champions league and in the german cup, but it is their effort to win the bundesliga title that has not really taken off. >> if bayern do not trip themselves up, it will be tough for the rest to catch them. i do not think that is so bad. we've said we want to be successful, and would get the quality to achieve that, but success is not just first place.
>> bayern will do their thing. they are just too good this year. they are consistent. after them, we want to play a stronger role. >> bayern are so far ahead, it would be a huge upset if it were not to be crowned champions of germany in may. >> our sports correspondent joins us now in the studio to talk about the bundesliga. welcome. it is hard to talk about bayern and the bundesliga without mentioning pep guardiolo. is the coup in danger of overshadowing the entire rest of the season? >> yes, while it is very exciting for fans and media, and is probably a bit less exciting for the current coach who risks looking like something of a lame duck. i think bayern should not be waiting until pep arrives to win
trophies. bearing in mind the way the team collapsed at the end of last season, these players really need to knuckle down. >> what other developments caught your eye during the winter break? it has been about a month. >> first, what looks like the impending meltdown at schalke. they have confirmed that one of their best players will be leaving the club. they lost a friendly to bayern, and they have a very inexperienced coach to dig them out of that. i think it will go into the free fall in the second half of the season. i think it will be fascinating to see how to returning player will fit into dortmund. >> we also have three german sides in the champions league. could this be a bumper year for german soccer? >> there in mind is also a for your german teams in the latter stages of the europa league -- four german teams.
there was a lot of fan and media interest in the bundesliga and how well the german teams are doing. that said, the hopes for bayern and dortmund are high with really big games ahead, and they could make or break the season. whatever happens, fans are in, i think, for a very exciting few months. >> any tips? >> it looks like it is bayern's sees in this time around, definitely. >> thank you so much. -- it looks like it is bayern's season. >> thank you for joining us here at dw. >> we will see you next time. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--